Got a question about the Leeds bid to become European Capital of Culture 2023? Chances are someone else wanted to know that too, so here’s our handy list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Any Questions

These are the questions we get asked the most, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for here or want a bit information on something, head over to our Hello page and ask us there.

What is European Capital of Culture?

It’s an international competition that aims to bring cities closer together and share learning as many cities struggle with the same big issues such as a changing demographic, welcoming new migrants, retaining a local identity, dealing with climate change or bridging divided communities and reducing poverty. The competition uses culture to explore big issues like these and create new international partnerships and collaborations.

Each year two or three countries host the title. In 2023 a UK city and a Hungarian city will become hosts.

When will we know who has won?

Leeds will submit a first stage bid by October 27th 2017. If our bid is short-listed we will receive feedback from the judges and be asked to submit a second bid in Spring 2018 with a final decision expected in Summer 2018.

Who will choose the winning city?

The panel is made up of ten judges. Two can be nominated from each of the host countries for that year. In 2023 two Hungarian representatives and two UK representatives, who can be nominated by the Department for Culture Media & Sport, may join the panel. The remainder of the panel are policy makers, academics, researchers and cultural professionals from across Europe.

We aren’t going to be in the European Union anymore so how can we be European Capital of Culture?

We were worried about that too, but on the 16th December 2016 the Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) announced that the UK would fulfil its obligation to host the competition as it will still be a member of the European Union (EU) until at least 2019 and will therefore participate as a full member.

The competition is administered by the European Union and its associated bodies but it is not exclusively for EU member states. Norway, Iceland and Switzerland have all hosted the title in the past but are not members of the EU.

Who will benefit if Leeds wins the title?

Everyone in Leeds, the surrounding region, our partners across the North, Europe and across the world!

Hosting the title will mean increased inward investment, employment opportunities, international profile, and tourism. When Liverpool hosted the competition in 2008 it estimated a return of £750million to the local economy and increased the number of residents who were proud to live in Liverpool by 82%.

The title is an international title delivered at a local level. We won’t be successful if our bid focuses solely on the city centre, it has to focus on the whole city. The benefits will also extend into the surrounding region.

Leeds is the only city bidding for the title in the North of England so there’s an opportunity to share this with our friends in the north. We have to make new friends with European and international partners and we have a lot to share with them and their communities so hopefully they will benefit too

How can I get involved?

We want the whole city involved in creating, making and delivering a successful bid and year as host.

We need your help to show the judges that Leeds wants this. Head over to our Shout section and find out what you can do today.